There are no words to describe the feeling of being in a room full of young American defenders, US Army men and women in uniform. These particular young defenders are members of the Embry-Riddle Army ROTC Eagle Battalion. There are 225 members of the Eagle Battalion, consisting of cadets from Bethune Cookman Community College, Stetson University, and of course Embry-Riddle, home of the Eagle Battalion.
I was the second presenter. Cadet Sardina’s name was called and no one appeared. Oh my! Where is he? RadioPatriot and I determined that something serious must have kept him away as he was so highly regarded by his commanding officer, LTC Clark. The announcer moved on to the next cadet. After about two presentations I caught a glimpse of someone entering the auditorium from the back. I just knew this was CDT Sardina. Sure enough, the announcer then called his name and he came to the front of the auditorium standing tall. I was announced and walked up to face him (my back to the crowd). The announcer then told a little about the history of the Crosby Scholarship, and CPT Herbert C. Crosby’s final tragic flight on January 10, 1970. We smiled at each other and CDT Sardina said very softly, “I’m so sorry I’m late.” I told him it was okay and began to show him Herby’s dog tag that I was wearing. This was the original dog tag returned to our family in 2006. I wear it to all related events. I presented him the award, shook his hand and gave him a big hug.
After all the presentations were made I had time to talk with CDT Sardina, Catlan. Catlan explained that he was late due to a lunch meeting he had with his pastor. This meeting was about his future in attending the seminary so he could become a chaplain in the Army. I know my face lit big time. You see, I’m friends with Col. William (Whiz) Broome who just happens to be an active-duty Army Chaplain, and recently the Pentagon Chaplain at that. I knew Whiz would be able to assist Catlan so I told him all about Whiz. I knew I had calls and emails to make to connect these two. Whiz was very pleased to hear this news and more than willing to help.
“I cannot say enough how honored I am to have received the initial scholarship on behalf of CPT Crosby. The award and ceremony were very special to me, as well as a VERY exciting moment for my family and fiancee. One thing that me struck as most amazing was reading the letters home from CPT Crosby. His actions demonstrated the duty that the Army continues to teach to every Soldier to this day. But the personal commitment that I read in those letters truly hit home as
a Junior officer. You could almost feel the excitement in anticipation of the mission from what he wrote.
I hope that the next cadet that receives this award can benefit as much as I have from CPT Crosby’s story. I hope that the tradition continues with the Embry-Riddle ROTC program and you and your family continue to enjoy good health and wellness.”